Japan-based fast-casual concept Pepper Lunch has signed an agreement for its newest location, just outside Tampa in the US state of Florida.

Located at 4699 Park Blvd in Pinellas Park, the outlet is Pepper Lunch’s first location in the state.

This is the first modern prototype design since its US parent company, Hot Palette America, took over Pepper Lunch’s American operations.

Expected to open in September 2024, the latest location will occupy 1435ft² with a seating capacity of 38. A 500ft² patio will provide an additional 25 outdoor seats.

The outlet will be owned and operated by Majestic Restaurant Group, which has agreed to develop ten units up to 2028, in and around the Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville markets.

Pepper Lunch CEO Troy Hooper said: “Pepper Lunch offers a uniquely different dining experience with authentic, approachable food.

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“With experienced local operators in the Majestic Restaurant Group, we’re looking forward to getting the doors open in the coming months so St. Petersburg area residents can discover what makes Pepper Lunch one of the most popular concepts in the world.”

Established in 1994, Pepper Lunch is one of the largest franchise restaurant brands in Japan with more than 500 locations across 15 countries.

It is now seeking experienced franchise partners to expand its business model across the US.

Pepper Lunch offers a teppanyaki-style concept of steaks, curry rice, teriyaki and pasta-based dishes, along with its signature Pepper Rice, on the brand’s hot iron plate.

Majestic Restaurant Group has a history of developing and operating dining concepts. Each restaurant that it operates offers a unique experience, tailored to the tastes and preferences of its patrons.

The group has introduced specific concepts such as “nearly a dozen sushi”, poke and dumpling restaurants. One of the concepts is Zukku Sushi, which has a location in Tampa.